Annoyingly, my computer thought it would be a great time to crap out, but luckily I come equipped with multiple electronic devices. So, as to not let my computer get the best of me, I snapped pictures of a number of his slides, so I would catch the gist of his talk. It also helps that Bill came to Yale to give a much more extensive version of this talk to collections and facilities staff.
Good news? The talk in its entirety is available as a paper on Bill’s web site: http://publications.garrisonlull.com
Bill set up a hypothetical building scenario (10,000 sf) using Montreal as its home. Montreal uses hydro power (so cool and GREEN) for its utilities so carbon footprint isn’t a concern here, so he doesn’t talk about emission reduction in this scenario.
Institutions want to save money, so naturally, their first thought is to cut back on HVAC settings. Same with energy savings: if we change our parameters, we’ll save money AND energy! But at what risk to our collections?
The scenarios that were hypothesized were the following:
- Change lighting energy use – reduce by 1 w/sf
- Change the T/RH to the relaxed AAMD (Association of Art Museum Directors) standards
- Change the energy loads and other proposed criteria without changing the environment set points
The scenarios were tried in a collections storage space and a gallery space in the proposed building.
Now, granted, the AAMD “standards” were proposed so that we’d be more lenient in our loaning practices, and not about energy savings or anything like that. Plus, I am not sure what “science” was used to determine these guidelines, since as far as I know, no conservators or conservation scientists were part of the conversation. But that’s a bone I can pick on a different blog post. 🙂 Anyway, Bill was just using it as an example of relaxed conditions.
One important element to examine are the alternative loads and how they might affect these numbers. Reducing these loads on a system will save energy and money:
- Internal Loads
- e.g. humans, lights, computers
- turn off lights, change lamps, turn off computers not in use
- Envelope Loads
- e.g. radiant heat from the sun, glass, insulation, vapor barrier (or lack thereof)
- seal up cracks, add insulation, vapor barrier
- Outside Air Loads
- how much outside air is being let in?
- check and see how much outside air is being let in
- you need some due to ASHRAE and OSHA standards
My favorite – and simplest – solution is to change the amount of air being pushed through your HVAC system. If you don’t have constant volume supply/ return fans, slow the fans down! You’ll maintain the environment you want, and save money and energy! Just make sure air is still being distributed evenly so your conditions stay constant. And BTW, supply and return fans are NOT the same as VAV fans. Those are smaller fans that are used the condition one room at a time based on how you set the thermostat in a single room.
Other recommendations have been to shut down equipment during unoccupied times and then turn the equipment back on. Bill doesn’t recommend this for a variety of reasons:
- Wear and tear on equipment (e.g. motor belts)
- The conditions are less than ideal, especially in the summer (I’ve experienced this issue)
Bottom line? There are other ways to be smart with energy savings and STILL maintain the environmental conditions you want in your collections and exhibit spaces. So, don’t assume you need to relax your environmental standards to be a greener museum. Examine your overall building and systems with your facilities folks and see what you can find that might save you money in the long run without compromising your collections.
Super smart and super practical. This HVAC nerd gives this talk two thumbs up!